Register Now for Summer Learning Camps

May 1, 2023

Community Education’s summer programming sparks discovery for kids — and adults! — with immersive, inspiring and fun-filled experiences

It might take place on the stage, standing among castmates when the curtains go up. Or perhaps it happens at a flour-dusted pastry-making station. Or maybe something sparks while making a music mash-up in a digital sound studio. Moments of eye-opening discovery await curious minds at Central Oregon Community College’s (COCC) Youth Camps, a fun-filled learning series for middle schoolers.

Open to ages 10 to 14, the lineup of nearly 20 unique youth camps takes place between June 26 and August 24. Options are conveniently available at COCC’s campuses in Bend, Redmond, Madras and Prineville.

Prices for the four-day camps, coordinated by COCC’s Community Education department, range from $179 to $229; scholarships are available. The camps are popular — and tend to fill fast. Register by visiting (Additional learning options for youth, such as “Safe Sitter” babysitter training, are available this spring.)

This summer’s camps include computer coding, 3D game development, animation, junior police academy, Japanese-style comic drawing, gardening, culinary and photography, among others. Over the four-day period, each day consists of three to four hours of learning, and most camps are held with both morning and afternoon options.

Discovering new interests is a huge part of the camp experience. So is learning with others, making new friends and collaborating. Students often work in teams or pairs to hash out creative choices and problem-solve challenges.

Research shows that the middle school age is when learning experiences can make an incredible impact on whether a child will go to college or not. The career-oriented nature of many of the camps, combined with the fact that they take place on an actual college campus, makes for both a successful learning atmosphere and a lasting impression.

“Day in Court: Mock Trial,” for instance, opens eyes to the judicial system — from the role of witnesses to how to compose a closing statement — and connects learning to career ideas. “Rock it, Chocolate” takes a sweet, chewy path through culinary creations in a commercial-grade kitchen. Throughout, Youth Camps at COCC set the stage for continued learning.

“A great opportunity to get youth involved in the community and to grow confidence,” remarked one parent after last year’s camps. “Such a great job with everything — the planning, content, take home goodies and COCC swag. Thank you so much for offering these!” said another.

For adults, summer camp at COCC is an option, too. The Central Oregon Summer Spanish Immersion, or COSSI, is a multiday language and cultural experience that’s designed for Spanish-speakers of all levels. The inspirational design is ideal for travel lovers, families readying for an overseas adventure (minimum age is 16), business travelers improving their language and cultural skills, and anyone who dreams in Mediterranean blues and cobblestone lanes.

Set for June 26-29 at the college’s Redmond campus, the four-day immersion includes a total of eight hours of Spanish instruction — from beginner to superior levels — with an additional four hours of facilitated conversation groups.

Each participant also chooses up to eight hours of elective sessions, with topics such as “South American National Parks,” “Sin and Salvation on the Camino,” “Pablo Picasso: Revolutionary Artist,” “Medical Terminology” and many others. Nightly events include a keynote speaker, brewery social, film screening and a sampling of Spanish wines with tapas.

“I teach Spanish virtually at a local high school and had the opportunity to go to COSSI in the summer of 2019 — I loved it!” said Ellen Fujioka of Spokane. “The whole week was so special.”

Only 85 seats are available for this year’s COSSI, and the cost is $699; register at or by calling 541-383-7240.

COSSI typically includes a number of educator attendees among its participants — helping set the tone for a fun, collegial atmosphere — and this year a number of local first responders are expected to attend thanks to scholarship support from a Deschutes County Arts & Culture grant. First held in 2017, COSSI has drawn participants from as far away as Washington, California, Idaho and Nevada.

For more information on Youth Camps and the Central Oregon Spanish Summer Immersion language program, contact Stephanie Goetsch, community education coordinator/program manager at 541-504-2966 or

By Mark Russell Johnson, staff writer, Office of Marketing and Public Relations

Youth Camps